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The New Oxford Guide to Writing Paperback – April 28, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (April 28, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195090594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195090598
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There is an apparently endless supply of books about writing. Very few of those books, surprisingly, offer a thorough and scholarly approach to the basics: words, sentences, and paragraphs. The New Oxford Guide to Writing does. According to author Thomas S. Kane, writing is "an exercise of mind requiring the mastery of techniques anyone can learn." Kane's not claiming he can create a genius, but, as he says in his introduction, "you don't have to be a genius to write clear, effective English." The writing that Kane refers to here is expository and persuasive in nature--writing most likely to be required in day-to-day life. In great detail Kane explores the building of an essay, the development of paragraphs, the styling of sentences, the use of diction, and, finally, issues of punctuation. It is unlikely that very many writers have scrutinized the building blocks of language the way Kane has, but it's never too late. Rare is the sourcebook that can offer so much both to beginners and experts alike. And anyone who loves words will thrill to encounter--if he or she hasn't done so already--the freight-train sentence, parataxis, the triadic sentence, polysyndeton, asyndeton, collocation, and zeugma. --Jane Steinberg

From Library Journal

Kane, who also wrote the earlier Oxford Guide to Writing (1983), leads the student in some detail through such fundamentals as planning the writing project, grammar, style, and things to avoidall with a view to developing command over the niceties of proper expository prose. The early chapters conclude with short practice exercises. Throughout, excerpts from distinguished authors are offered as examples. Major sections are devoted to the essay, paragraph, sentence, diction, description and narration, and punctuation. A bit stuffy for general readers, and aspiring creative and professional writers might not buy into all this self-conscious correctness. Still, suited for use in college English courses or as an extra reference in libraries not overstocked on this subject. William A. Donovan, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Kane has written a superb book on writing.
James_Seaford
Clarity, precision, organization and concision are elements of effective and productive business writing.
D.H. Gonzalez
There are many meaningful exercises that will make you understand the huge number of tehcniques.
Muthukumar U

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Muthukumar U on July 19, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best book on writing I've read so far. It would be more precise to say this is a book on how to dress your thoughts in words most effectively.
I still remember an illustrative example somewhere in the initial pages. What is not so good about the sentence "She dresses in a beaatuful manner" ?. Well, it becomes more effective when written as "She dresses beautifully". In the long phrase "in a beautiful manner", the focus is dissipated over many words. Whereas, "beautifully" compresses meaning in one word and what's more, it sits at the end of the sentence, tending to stay in the reader's mind longer.
The book is full of such fine points and subtle techniques. Kane has taken a wonderfully orderly approach to teaching the writing process right from the basic element - the sentence, to the whole picture - the essay. Gradually building layer on layer, you see how the parts make the whole and how different aspects of writing contribute to the reader's final experience.
There are many meaningful exercises that will make you understand the huge number of tehcniques. Another important feature of the book is its examples of different types and styles of writing taken from a wide range of well known authors -Bertrand Russell, Samuel Johnson, E B White, Virginia Woolf, G K Chesterton, H G Wells, Mark Twain and so on. Kane takes each excerpt from these authors and explains why they work.
With a little effort, you can start writing almost as well as them, at least you'll know how those great authors thought before penning their ideas.
The book is set in very eye-pleasing font and well presented. Get the hardback if you can. If you're really interested in writing, this is a book you'll want to treasure.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
The New Oxford Guide to Writing is vastly superior to the grammar manuals and reference books that writing instructors usually assign their students. Kane doesn't merely prescribe rules for students to memorize; he imparts genuine understanding of the mechanics and conventions of good prose and takes you through the entire writing process, from facing a blank page to polishing a finished piece. By demystifying this process, Kane's guide empowers students to find their own voices and to keep improving their skills for years to come.
Everyone, from beginner to professional, should have a copy of this book.
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
The entertaining aspect is the quotations illustrating various techniques of style. The useful aspect is the identification of many features of style unnoticed by me.
It may indicate the age of the author that on p. 32 he recommends "If you type .... Keep the keys clean and invest now and then in a new ribbon." He has no special advice for users of a word processor, and I'd guess he never used one. He refers to Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, which gives an idea of how new "new" is.
I'd put this book at a high-school to first-year college level. The author's style is that of a friendly and knowledgable advisor, pedantic at times, but usually not.
I found the examples really made the points, and the overall view of techniques shows what can be done.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D.H. Gonzalez on September 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Among the books suggested for purchase with this product, some will have ambitious--nay, misleading--titles such as: "The Only Book You Will Ever Need for Writing" or "The One-Stop Composition Handbook." We are aware: this is a marketing tactic. The judicious reader-consumer expects the content--useful as at may be--will not justify the title; seldom are those expectations contradicted.

This book--"The New Oxford Guide to Writing" by Thomas S. Kane--however, could have been given such a title. Kane offers suggestions and examples for the whole writing process. He covers the initial stages of brainstorming and the final stages of composition. Organization of paragraphs and construction of sentences are discussed; he provides examples from various authors, topics, and expository mediums. In addition, Kane includes suggestions for style, such as figures of speech and rhetorical devices. It is not comprehensive treatment, for these are subjects unto themselves. Yet, the suggestions are useful and to be noted: literary and rhetorical style distinguishes great writing from good writing. Kane also provides suggestions for narrative and descriptive writing, which all --whether creative or quarterly report writers--can use to create organized, engaging text . Lastly, Kane reviews both formal and stylistic punctuation.

Not only creative writers or students will benefit but also those in business, legal, and management settings will as well.

A few suggestions:

For those interested in rhetorical style and figures I recommend "Farnsworth's Classical English Rhetoric." It reviews about twenty of the most common and practical rhetorical figures ( or devices).
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James_Seaford on January 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like books about writing, probably because I'm so damned lousy at it. So I enjoy ruffling through the Reference Section at bookshops. But mostly it's a disappointing experience. Writing is not about telling, it's about showing. It should be transformational, not transactional. Sadly many authors blabber... page after page, paragraph after paragraph, like an old broken record without care that anyone will ever listen. And don't get me started on the "Write your book in 6 months" titles - what a load of bull. This book, however, does everything a writer's companion, dare I say mentor, should do: it explains everything with crystal clarity, it provides prodigious examples, it then explains the crafting of these examples, and finally sets down tasks for you to practice and practice and practice. I particularly benefited from the advanced sentence structures. Kane has written a superb book on writing. Cannot recommend highly enough.
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